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Hot off the Press Story
by Keith Benicek, Editor 1/14/03

Macworld SF 2003 Wrap up and comments

Even after years of going to more “computer industry” conclaves (expo’s) than I wish to recount including Macworld, I still can’t decide whether Macworld Conference and Expo SF or NY/Boston is unique. 
Comdex is after all a Windows/Bill Gates house party, with Bill giving the main keynote address and only Microsoft’s main ally corporation brown-nosers’ offered supplemental keynote pronouncements. Fortunately for those of us that trek to this particular baboon fest, it was so unattended that Comdex 2002 is rumored to be the last one. But not to worry, Bill will just buy CES.

Macworld Conference and Expo is in a way unique I guess, in that it can’t really survive without Apple’s mega attendance and Steve Jobs’ always much awaited Keynote Address which is singular to the show.

Never the less, it is a well-put together production and the Mac market manufacturers turnout was spectacular despite the sagging Tech Industry. Anyone who is anyone is there with a booth; to not attend portends an ominous sign of business problems, or a disregard of Mac owners who may buy from your business.

Monday is a day for user product classes, the media to check in and manufacturers the final day to set up their booths. Monday is a wasted day for us in the Media, and I for one wish they really started things at the beginning of the week rather than Tuesday.

Tuesday is Keynote day and nothing else is much important, especially to the media attendees. After the Keynote is over, you fight your way out of the auditorium in a dash to the MWSF “media center”. There you quickly write a Keynote synopsis and attempt to logon to the network they’ve set up for the media to send out your “by-line”. Not so easy though, as either they hadn’t allowed for the number of media representatives that needed to gain access, or they were having DHCP protocol problems. Many of us never got online there.

The Keynote
As always, Steve Jobs is the master of the Keynote address (Bill Gates and Steve Balmer are

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pitiful by comparison) and this one was no exception. And, by tradition Steve wore his trademark blue jeans and black tunic style shirt; where does still find those shirts?

Steve opened with a pronouncement that “we’ve got two Macworld’s worth of stuff for you today”, and in many ways he was right. For those of you that have broadband, you could listen live to the keynote, albeit a bit choppy. Jobs noted that this was the largest broadcast yet with 130 countries including the Vatican receiving the streaming broadcast. He hoped out loud for divine intervention for a smooth presentation.

Jobs attention turned to the Apple “Switch Campaign” and that the dedicated “Switch” web site had received 7.8 million unique visits with 68% of the visitors running a Windows OS version, or 5 million “Switch” visitors that use Windows.

Apple Retail Stores were opened just 20 months ago” Jobs noted, “this (retail stores) is where people buy their computers, this is why we put them where they are and there are now 51 store where 85 million people live within 15 miles of an Apple Retail Store”. Jobs, showed pictures of various stores including the New York Soho store, which use to be “Station A” Post Office. Jobs also reported that the stores are right on target with total sales of (US)$148 Million dollars last quarter. Further, “50% of the computers we sell, are to Windows switchers”, Jobs announced to a cheering audience.

Steve also talked about “(OS) 10 for Teachers, a program to put OS X into teacher’s hands since many school districts have been slow to adopt.” “If they (teachers) come to our web site and register, we sent then OS X”, so far 290,000 copies of Mac OS X were sent out.” Jobs announced that the program would be extend for a short while longer.  

iCal 1.0.2 and iSync 1.0 updates were also announced, and that many sites devoted to iCal are all over the internet for Rock Bands to Sports Events. iCal is meant for sharing of personal, business or an activities Calendar Schedule, sort of a public Daytimer.

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